ACCLAIMED writer Robert Macfarlane is to judge a competition organised by the North York Moors National Park’s Inspired by… gallery that aims to inspire a new generation of nature writers.

The competition will be one of a raft of events and activities coinciding with The Lost Words exhibition, which will be hosted by the gallery in Danby from June 15 to July 29 as part of a nationwide tour from Compton Verney Art Gallery.

The gallery will be the only northern England venue to host the exhibition. It will display the “spells” by Macfarlane and watercolour illustrations by artist Jackie Morris that were used to create The Lost Words.

Budding young poets can join one of four poetry days where they will be invited to write their own acrostic poem inspired by nature’s sights, smells and sounds after listening to local actress Bidi Iredale read some of the book’s spells. The children’s verses will be suspended on a Poem Tree at the gallery.

Macfarlane will then judge a shortlist of 10 entries with the winner and runner-up each receiving a handwritten copy of one of his spells in addition to the gold-stamped and signed copy of The Lost Words given to all of the finalists.

Alongside the competition The Lost Words theme will run through other National Park events, including a treasure hunt, art workshops and Rosedale Wildlife Week June 23 to 29. There will also be a countryside expedition where visitors will be able to create their own time capsule of items relating to once-familiar nature words which they can take home and bury.

Sally-Ann Smith, curator of the Inspired by… gallery, said: “We’ve designed the event programme to stay faithful to The Lost Words which has created such a strong grassroots movement, re-awakening people’s awareness and appreciation of the natural world.

“Therefore while youngsters can write poems, go on guided countryside walks and create nature-inspired collages, we’ve also planned events where adults can get involved such as creating a life-sized sculpture of a heron, the subject of one of the spells in The Lost Words, or joining a creative writing workshop that takes inspiration from the North York Moors.”

For information, go to